Romelu Lukaku banished his Stamford Bridge blues as his deadly double helped Chelsea to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa, their 600th Premier League victory.
The striker made the most of a Mateo Kovacic throughball to net the 15th-minute opening goal, and a blunder from Tyrone Mings allowed Kovacic to clip in the second soon after the break. Lukaku struck a sublime third in stoppage time.
Lukaku had not scored at Chelsea’s home ground in 14 previous appearances, including 11 Premier League games, comprising those from his previous spell with the west London club and subsequent stints at Everton and Manchester United.
He made his Chelsea debut in August 2011 but did not establish himself with the club in his first spell; however, a different narrative is playing out second time around, with Lukaku 10 years older and lightyears more lethal at this level.
What. A. Picture.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 11, 2021
Manchester United are the only other team in Premier League history to have racked up at least 600 wins, and Lukaku put Chelsea on course to join them in the 15th minute. The £97.5million recruit from Inter sprinted behind the Villa defence before cutting back on his right foot as Axel Tuanzebe closed in and firing low beyond Jed Steer.
Villa carried a threat of their own and almost forced a leveller three minutes later when Ollie Watkins charged forward and rifled towards the bottom-left corner, only for Edouard Mendy to produce an excellent low save, tipping the ball wide. Watkins also failed to convert a clear chance when his shot was blocked by Thiago Silva as Chelsea’s defence looked shaky.
Mendy again came to Chelsea’s rescue in the 32nd minute when he dealt superbly with a Mings howitzer before palming away a mis-hit attempt on the rebound from Ezri Konsa.
Konsa had earlier made a goal-saving intervention on the line when a corner from Callum Hudson-Odoi swung in and needed to be deflected away off the crossbar.
Kovacic put Chelsea two goals clear in the 48th minute when England defender Mings’ short backpass was seized on, a first-time finish into the left corner giving the hosts a cushion.
From that point, Chelsea began to look comfortable, Marcos Alonso and Kovacic trying to no avail to extend their lead. Lukaku showed the way in the dying moments, blasting the ball into the top-left corner from just inside the penalty area.
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